Anatomy of US’ Christian Fascism
(Assassination by US of Iran’s General Qassim Suleimani and members of his convoy – Latest act of US’ unfettered Christian Fascism. Photo courtesy The New York Times of 2 January 2020)
#Tags: US, Fascism, Christian Fascism, Religious Intolerance, White Supremacy, Racism
Brigadier (Retd.) Dr. Ahsan ur Rahman Khan
While those in the world who at times might be wondering about the reason for US’ increasingly intolerant, racist and fascist policies applied in the world, the riddle has been solved by Mr. Chris Hedges in his latest article titled “Onward Christian Fascists”. This article has been published recently on 30 December 2019 by the award-wining news website Truth Dig.
This topic being important, it is worth taking a look at the credential of the author of this article. Vey briefly: Mr. Chris Hedges is an ordained Presbyterian minister; B.A. from Colgate University, Masters from Harvard University, has honorary doctorate for Ministry in Berkeley, Calif.; a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist; author of 12 books; speaks Arabic, French and Spanish and studied classics, including ancient Greek and Latin, at Harvard University; and has taught at Columbia University, New York University, Princeton University and the University of Toronto (1).
His article presents an authentic and incisive diagnosis of the problem in question. However, the article being a bit lengthy, only some of its excerpts are presented below to benefit from author’s knowledge (2):-
- “The greatest moral failing of the liberal Christian church was its refusal, justified in the name of tolerance and dialogue, to denounce the followers of the Christian right as heretics. By tolerating the intolerant it ceded religious legitimacy to an array of con artists, charlatans and demagogues and their cultish supporters”.
- “The white race, especially in the United States, became God’s chosen agent. Imperialism and war became divine instruments for purging the world of infidels and barbarians, evil itself. Capitalism, because God blessed the righteous with wealth and power and condemned the immoral to poverty and suffering, became shorn of its inherent cruelty and exploitation”.
- “These believers find in Donald Trump a reflection of themselves, a champion of the unfettered greed, cult of masculinity, lust for violence, white supremacy, bigotry, American chauvinism, religious intolerance, anger, racism and conspiracy theories that define the central beliefs of the Christian right. When I wrote “American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America” I was deadly serious about the term “fascists.”
- “Trump received 80% of the white evangelical vote in the 2016 presidential election, and in a poll this month 90% of Republicans said they opposed impeachment and ouster of the president. Among Republicans who identify as white evangelical Protestants, that number rises to 99%”.
- “Tens of millions of Americans live hermetically sealed inside the vast media and educational edifice controlled by Christian fascists. In this world, miracles are real, Satan, allied with secular humanists and Muslims, is seeking to destroy America, and Trump is God’s anointed vessel to build the Christian nation and cement into place a government that instills “biblical values.”
- “Trump is routinely compared by evangelical leaders to the biblical king Cyrus, who rebuilt the temple in Jerusalem and restored the Jews to the city”.
- “Trump has filled his own ideological void with Christian fascism. He has elevated members of the Christian right to prominent positions, ——- More importantly, Trump has handed the Christian right veto and appointment power over key positions in government, especially in the federal courts”.
- “I studied ethics at Harvard Divinity School with James Luther Adams, who had been in Germany in 1935 and 1936. Adams witnessed the rise there of the so-called Christian Church, which was pro-Nazi. He warned us about the disturbing parallels between the German Christian Church and the Christian right. Adolf Hitler was in the eyes of the German Christian Church a volk messiah and an instrument of God—a view similar to the one held today about Trump by many of his white evangelical supporters”.
- “Trump’s legacy will be the empowerment of the Christian fascists. They are what comes next. For decades they have been organizing to take power. They have built infrastructures and organizations, including lobbying groups, schools and universities as well as media platforms, to prepare. They have seeded their cadre into the political system. We on the left, meanwhile, have seen our institutions and organizations destroyed or corrupted by corporate power”.
Obviously there can hardly be any disagreement with this presentation by Mr. Chris Hedges of the very insightful understanding of US’ Christian Fascism. However, it may still be worth to add certain additional credible related information / findings to provide further clarity on the issue. Some of those are: (a) findings of Utica College Center of Public Affairs and Election Research (US) clarify “Religion has played a major role in shaping political leadership, the presidency, and presidential elections throughout U.S. history.—— Since the 1970’s, evangelical Protestants have positioned themselves as one of the most impactful religious voting blocs, —– Donald Trump was able to garner the vast majority of evangelical support in the 2016 election (3); (b) evangelicalism, evangelical Christianity, or evangelical Protestantism, is a cross-denominational movement within Protestant Christianity which forms a quarter of US’ national population and is politically important (4); (c) Protestant evangelical movement, which claims upward of 100 – 125 million members in US, also entails Christian Zionism which sees Israel as a fulfillment of Biblical prophecy and urges support for it (5); and (d) Donald Trump was raised as a Presbyterian (i.e. belonging to Protestant Church), and in Oval office he has surrounded himself with close advisers who share his faith (6) – for example Mike Pence who belonged to a Roman Catholic family, but now he is an evangelical with a particularly strong Christian Zionist perspective (7).
If these additional pieces of authentic information are read in conjunction with the explanations given in Mr. Chris Hedges’ presentation, it becomes very clear that historically US’ society has never been a ‘secular democracy’ as claimed. It has always been ‘religion-based’. However, there was nothing wrong with US’ societal texture being religion-based; because, after all, these are only the ‘righteous religious beliefs’ which promote the humanistic behaviour in the societal texture. That immutable connection between righteous religious beliefs and morality was acknowledged even long time back by the well-known German philosopher Immanuel Kant, who asserted “Morally right acts, he held, are those aimed at bringing about the highest good (summum bonum), a state in which people are rewarded with happiness in proportion to the level of virtue they achieve. But one cannot rationally will to bring about the highest good unless one believes that such a state is possible, and it is possible only in an eternal afterlife ordered by God. The existence of God and the immortality of the soul can thus be “postulated” as rational conditions of morality, even though they cannot be proved theoretically. In this way religion, for Kant, was a matter of practical reason, concerned with what people ought to do, rather than of theoretical reason, concerned with what people have good reason to think is true” (8).
Factually, US’ governments started turning towards fascism as US started attaining global power status, and reached the peak of its ‘power drunkenness’ when it became the ‘sole super power’ of the world. That induced in US’ governments and majority populace the notions, in the words of Mr. Chris Hedges – of unfettered greed, cult of masculinity, lust for violence, white supremacy, bigotry, American chauvinism, religious intolerance, anger, racism, and being God’s chosen agent to most inhumanly devastate many Muslim countries for economic and geopolitical benefits, albeit in the name of establishing civilisational values and acting in line with Biblical injunctions!
That is what US’ Christian Fascism is. It has attained new heights now under Donald Trump. Unfortunately it is showing the signs of further strengthening. It is not limited to any specific US’ government or political party, rather it is gradually spreading in different segments of US’ society. At present it reflects reminiscence of the peak periods of Germany’s Fascism under Adolf Hitler and Italy’s Fascism under Benito Mussolini.
(6). Introductory note of David Brody, Scott Lamb book The Faith of Donald J. Trump A Spiritual Biography